Deadliest of Drugs

Drinking my coffee this morning a news story came on the television about how prescription pain killers are becoming something to watch as far as cause of death in the United States. That got me to thinking, do they kill more than alcohol? Cigarettes? Personally, the pain left from prescription drug abuse has had immediate effects in my life. I have lost numerous friends to prescription pain pill overdose. I have lost a relationship or two to the over-use of them. I have had to attend countless classes in rehabilitation facilities where I was visiting someone close to me. It is more an everyday fact that we once thought it was…

The pharmaceutical companies push the doctors, that push the patients, that end up getting hooked. In my own experience with pain pills, it was damn near impossible to get my pain specialist to take me off of the ridiculous amounts of drugs he tried to put me on. His office was located in Southfield, MI and the wait was almost two hours each time you went in, with the waiting area packed full of people. I once spoke to him about the fact that it was starting to feel like what I would assume a drug house feels like. People sitting outside waiting for their “friend” to get out of the office to take them to the pharmacy to pick up the script which they would then sell. Patients going off on the receptionist, not because of the wait, but because of who was waiting for them… I have chronic pain, but he had me on 90 mgs of Morphine first thing in the morning and up to three Oxycontin a day!! I would have been a zombie! They made me so sick that I couldn’t stomach them anyway, causing more pain than help. An old roommate once told me that I could get up to $700 “on the street” for ONE of my prescriptions a month. Later we lost her to a prescription overdose…I am in much more pain these days, but I am not on any regular pain medication, controlling as much as I can with Bikram yoga and the things I choose to eat/not eat.

The CDC says,

  • In 2013, of the 43,982 drug overdose deaths in the United States, 22,767 (51.8%) were related to pharmaceuticals.8
  • Of the 22,767 deaths relating to pharmaceutical overdose in 2013, 16,235 (71.3%) involved opioid analgesics (also called opioid pain relievers or prescription painkillers), and 6,973 (30.6%) involved benzodiazepines.8 (Some deaths include more than one type of drug.)

I started smoking when I was 13 and have had the hardest time quitting completely over the years. According to the CDC, “Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States.”  and “Harms nearly every organ of the body.” Even though old enough to know that it’s absolutely insane to even light one up after those statements, there is a comfort that comes when completely stressed out and you finish that first cigarette. That being said, One needs to have more control than that. Causing ” more than 480,000 deaths each year in the United States,” the numbers cannot be argued with.

Not only did I start smoking at a young age, but being the rebel that I was, I also started drinking about the age of 15. Over the years it definitely was the cause of an issue or two, but it wasn’t until the FM kicked in, and after two children, till my body decided I could no longer drink like I use to. I don’t mind this at all, usually only having a couple of drinks every so often. I’d rather have one good glass of cognac than play with alcohol like I use to. Sticking with getting today’s information from the CDC, they say…

“Excessive alcohol use is a leading cause of preventable death. This dangerous behavior accounted for approximately 88,000 deaths per year from 2006–2010, and accounted for 1 in 10 deaths among working-age adults aged 20–64 years.”

I guess that it is hard to determine what One should consider the deadliest of drugs. I think that the most important thing is that we pay attention to what we are putting in our bodies and how we choose to handle the stresses of our lives. The more we are in touch with ourselves and purifying these beautiful temples of skin we were given, the better off we will be.

Scorpions and Quiche

So, as some may know, one of my favorite men is in Thailand on vacation with a couple of good buddies. Currently they are resting up in Chiang Mai. The other day I found myself grocery shopping and he’s sending me a text and photos of them eating scorpions in Bangkok. Here I am at Meijer, trying to figure out what to get my kids for lunch that day and he’s experiencing something cool in a faraway land, I wasn’t jealous at all. Beautiful photos of street vendors, a shrimp as large as his hand, breakfast in Bangkok, statues, neighborhood dogs…He found me a monk’s bowl and a fine silk scarf. He has the best taste and his gifts are always incredibly meaningful. That being said, again today I have had to focus on that which tests the limits of my jealousy. I love self-actualization, but damn does it hurt like a bitch!

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That’s a “shrimp”! Photo courtesy of Michael Darmes

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Breakfast in Bangkok. Photo courtesy of Michael Darmes

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Vendor in Bangkok. Photo courtesy of Michael Darmes

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Monk’s Bowl from Bangkok.

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Look at those colors!!!

So here I sit trying to decide what to cook for us that will take my mind off of the fabulousness of his vacation. It’s a balmy 30 degrees here in Michigan right now I think! A big plus about having to stay at his place is that he has MY oven. Yes mine, I MUST own one. The Cuisinart Combo Steam and Convection Oven, it is a miracle worker packed into a futuristic looking package. As soon as I have the “extra” cash, we will be making a purchase, leftovers will never go to waste again with this beautiful machine! I could go on for days about this gorgeous piece of machinery, but let’s just say that I can cook WHATEVER I would like and have it come out looking professional at least. So I can across this recipe and thought that I might try it. Take THAT Thailand!! lol No, I will not be bitter…

If you would like to attempt this with me, check it out here

Spinach Mushroom Feta Crustless Quiche is the best breakfast or dinner without all the guilt!

Photo courtesy of Real Housemoms

Embrace the Quirk

Have I mentioned that I LOVE my quirky nerdiness and REALLY don’t mind that all in all I have been single for what seems like forever. My universe has been handed to me in such ways that I have been tested to my very core. I have had to face MANY things that most never have to face, and I am grateful for each and every painful one of them. The tables have turned. I have learned enough from my life lessons that now those in my life who I respected and look up to most, those who SEEM to have themselves together, are finally looking to me for strength. Those friends with fancy houses and incredibly high paying jobs, are jealous of the strength I have when faced with adversity. They are starting to realize that, even with the chaos of things that have happened to me, that I am more solid in who I am with each passing day. My “quirks” are now badges I wear, each representing something new I have learned about myself, each one building me stronger. I am me, no matter what is taken from me. I thrive being my WHOLE self. Could you say the same of yourself if your material possessions were stripped from you? If a surgery left you “changed” somehow? Are you able to celebrate who YOU are at your core? Be thankful for your quirks my friends, human robots are incredibly shallow and boring…

Driving and My Ego

The ego is a very funny thing. I have been fighting my ego in a terrible way since these surgeries, but at least I’m driving again! Check out this video and see how I am handling… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K90bPXtqp6o

Inspiration and the Internet

I have not been myself lately. I have stopped being me again. There is this defense mechanism that I seem to carry on some tiny gene that says I must go into a type of hibernation as soon as things start to get a bit “tense” in my life. Or should I say, a little more chaotic than the endless intensity that is my life. Dealing with this brutal winter has left my body near incapacitated at times. Most of the time, through no fault of my own, it is just the way it is for me in the cold weather now, I have learned to accept at least that small fact of this fucking condition. In my incapacitated states, I often turn toward the computer. What I have noticed as of late has me on an upward swing of inspiration? I can’t tell you how excited I am at this new discovery!

Reflection is the key and I think that is my exact problem, I have not been reflecting as needed. This past year has been beyond brutal to my psyche, testing me to a point that I didn’t think possible, I am learning to welcome that. Within all this testing I have not been able to find inspiration. I have found plenty of empty motivation and that almost seems worse than anything! To have all of this “oomph” behind you and nowhere to direct it? It is such a wasted shame. All  of that energy just a wasted shame…

Needless to say, when I started to find the inspiration again, I stopped to appreciate it. I stop daily now, a couple times a day and verbally thank the Universe for the beauty that is my life. The internet has become my fast friend in teaching me the ropes to inspiration as of late. Some say that Facebook is the Devil, I say that it is the person making the decisions that is to blame, the internet just “lays your options out there” for you to make your decisions. I personally am grateful for Facebook, for without it, I wouldn’t have changed who I am, because I wouldn’t have been face to face with the things I needed to accomplish that change. I wouldn’t have known that a friend that I high respected from high school, that I had connected with again through Facebook, had passed away at 38, leaving behind a young daughter. I wouldn’t have been able to make the trip to pay my respects or connect with other close friends that I haven’t seen in over 20 yrs. There would have been no reflection to my life, no feeling of almost obligation to really buckle down and figure things out. Not that I haven’t been trying, but it was all like a 2×4 to the chest, ya know?

Without the internet, I wouldn’t know of another friend from high school that was always full of such piss and vinegar, who is now running in Ironman triathalons! He is constantly posting photos or comments about running over 6 miles in -15 degree windchills and such. How does one possibly complain about having to shovel the walk after looking at a photo like that?! The fact is, you shouldn’t be able to. I am sure that it does help that I know of his past, but that just teaches me another lesson, don’t put a life onto someone, you never know who they are going to turn out to be. He is an inspiration because he has always been genuine, he has always partied like it was his last one, he has a beautiful family and children, works his butt off and continues to strive for more. He defines what his life is going to be. I find such inspiration in that.

Yet another friend from high school is pushing past cancer scares. She is constantly driving from Ohio up to Michigan to go to the Karmanos Institute to get brain scans, she is also my age. I am no longer young, boy was that a concept that I had a rough time with. She’s awesome though, handles it all with such humor. She wears her hair bright pink and seems to always have such a smile on her face. She also takes care of her family and any mother knows what a tough job in itself that one is! Who am I to complain about my pain at all when she takes care of her family with such grace? I cannot. Tough as nails that one.

Another friend, who has also dealt with abuse in the past, is a constant reminder of how far I have come. Seeing her posts reminds me that I am no longer in a battered women’s shelter, that I have a humble place of my own for my boys, that I am no longer under his control and that I can make my life into whatever I want it to be now. She checks on me from time to time now, she doesn’t have to do that. She is now happily married with a grown daughter and is studying to be a counselor to others. Honestly, I think she is going to be wonderful at it.

The bottom line for me is that there are people doing what they want. They are taking life by the horns, slapping it’s face and making it their bitch. You can find all the inspiration you want, it is a choice, just as everything else is. You can close yourself off, thinking that is the only way you are going to possibly handle a situation, or you can open yourself up to a million different possibilities if you just get out of your own head. There is inspiration all around us, just open your eyes.

Processing Through the Pain

So when life hits you with a 2×4, what do you do? How do you make your next move when the emotional weight actually makes it hard to breathe? I have been delving into some of these questions in the past couple of days. I apologize for the lack of make-up or pretty camera angles, but I am just throwing this together as I go, in hopes that someone will have something to say on it. Anything would be appreciated, even just a kind word or a little joke would be great! Please check it out here and give me any input you can. Love and light, carry it on people!!

Shame on Me

There is no other way to say it, I should feel some sort of shame for the ridiculous amount of time that it has been since my last post. Being that I am quite aware of it, does that make it any easier for me to face the reality of what has kept me from writing for so long? No, not any easier. Once again I am not completely sure how or why my life has gotten into the situation that it is in. I keep trying to play things the “right way”, yet always seem to fall behind. I shall figure it out soon.

Escaping to the Ocean via Pennsylvania

Every now and then I need to get away for awhile… Luckily I was blessed enough to meet my friend B some years back and she “sends” for me every couple years or so. I was hitting a boiling point recently and needed to separate myself from the chaos. Mighty B to the rescue! It took plenty of working with friends, family and the greatest man to make a plan. It was the last week of the summer, right in between the boys’ birthdays… My last opportunity to leave for another school year! So, I left on a midnight train, okay, it was 11 o’clock train, to Pennsylvania aboard Amtrak’s Capitol Limited. I have never been on a train and was thrilled that we were leaving in the middle of the night. The darkness tends to quiet people down and quiet was exactly what I was looking for.
What’s across the tracks? (Taken with Instagram)
This is what I saw right before getting on the train in Toledo, OH. I was kind of mesmerized by how ominous it was on the other side of the tracks. If I was into Harry Potter at all, I might have been a bit excited because I could totally see us boarding this train and disappearing into a cloud of smoke to Hogwart’s.
I couldn’t stop myself from snapping a photo before I boarded… I was incredibly excited to have a small break from the kids and the responsibilities of the house. They started calling people to board in the most interesting fashion. First it was passengers traveling with children, then people going to a certain area and so forth. The fact that they were separating us from the families with kids was awesome in my book. I have all the empathy in the world for them, but the chaos of the family is what I was relaxing from.  My hopes for there being plenty of room slowly diminished when they sat this older woman right next to me! Seriously? There was a whole empty top level of this car and you sit someone right next to me?! She must not have known that it was after 11pm or been uncomfortable, because she talked all the way to Cleveland! I was more than slightly irritated. Don’t get me wrong, she was nice, but who turns on their light and continues to talk when everyone else is sleeping?
Sleepy on train… #amtrak  (Taken with Instagram)
Being that I didn’t get much sleep the night before, I had plenty of time to try and take a nap on the way to Harrisburg, PA. Try being the key word. There is a long story about the dining car that I don’t feel like getting into right now…
Yaaaay..  I am SUCH a geek! #Elizabethtown  (Taken with Instagram)
Sometimes I can be such a geek! I absolutely LOVE the movie Elizabethtown and had to get a photo of this sign! 63b!!!
Yes, Life IS good… #vacation #lifeisgood (Taken with Instagram)
Got safely to Ephrata, PA, stopped long enough to shower and shave my legs, then jumped in the car to head to Delaware. Even my view from the couch when I finally got to sit down told me that Life Is Good
AND… I am on the beach…   (Taken with Instagram)
Finally able to put my feet in the sand at the beach!!! I think I have needed this for more than a couple years now…
Ahhh, the ocean… (Taken with Instagram)
Look, it’s the ocean!!! B has to put a pole out with live bait in order to use the beach, I think she prayed the whole darn time not to catch a fish.
La la la… I can’t hear you!!! (Taken with Instagram)
It looks like I am going, “Na na na na, I can’t hear you, ” in this photo, when the truth was I probably trying to figure out how to get my hair to stay up and out of the way.
Finally at some peace…
Proof that I was actually on the beach… The weather was perfect the whole time we were there, couldn’t have asked for anything more beautiful! I have the hardest time keeping my dreads up and out of the way though…
Flowers with breakfast… (Taken with Instagram)
It may have not been breakfast in bed, but the fact that someone else cooked it is just as cool! Even the flowers on my plate brought some joy to my day. I can’t tell you how nice it was to sit on the screened in porch, drink coffee and eat fresh, hot pancakes! What a way to wake up to head to the beach once again!
Before we head out onto the beach, B has to let the air out of the tires a bit… she would be so irritated if she knew I got this pic of her…

This seagull is bigger than my dog!  (Taken with Instagram)

This seagull just chilled for awhile near the truck on our last day there, he amazed me because he was bigger than both my dog and my cat! I had never seen one this size before!

Sitting at the station, ready to leave…  (Taken with Instagram)

Leaving Lancaster station and heading home… the night got infinitely more interesting from here. Hard to believe that there was so much drama packed into the ride home, but we will save that for another day…

Taking a Moment in the Park

Very rarely lately have I stopped to take a moment to myself.  This fact alone has been wearing on me, as I normally try to take the moments that I need in order to keep my head clear. That lacking of time is showing some ugly truths that I’d rather just turn a blind eye to. It’s hard for me to admit when I am getting slightly “out of control,” and even harder to then reverse my actions and do the right thing.

Luckily, my little downtown area, Kellogg Park, of Plymouth, MI has just the place for it. It pains me that I am going to have to move away from this area. I love the fact that it has the BIG open park in the middle with every shop you could possibly want within walking distance. Not to mention, if hanging out for a drink is your thing, I think there is something like five or six bars within the small downtown area, so there is no lack of socializing! Especially in the Summer, the kids and I like to spend quite a bit of time down there. The surprising thing? Plymouth is filled with wealth and yet, this city has always accepted the uniqueness with which I have chosen to live my life. There is that lack of stares and disrespect that I get most places. Can’t even explain how much I appreciate that. I definitely need to start taking more time to clear my head than I have been. There was a reason that I fell in love with this city in the first place, it brings me peace…